fbpx Migrant Remittances and Financial Services (online) | Harvard Kennedy School

Programme de formation des cadres pour l'UNCDF

Driving Policy and Product Innovation to Improve Digital Financial Services for Migrants

illustration of scheduleMigration is an integral part of developing countries’ sustainable and inclusive growth, and improved digital financial services are needed to keep pace with these vulnerable populations’ changing financial needs. The private sector can respond, but without properly designed solutions, important financial services such as savings, credit, and remittances may be underutilized. On the policy side, decisions around regulations and programs should be evidence-based and responsive to citizens’ needs. With the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, migrants’ financial needs are felt even more acutely. To that end, Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education and Evidence for Policy Design have collaborated with UNCDF to design a new capacity building program to unleash synergies and catalyze change for financial inclusion and services for migrants, their families, and their communities across the world.

Migrant Remittances and Financial Services is a new executive program for industry and public sector leaders and their teams charged with designing and delivering policies or products that address the financial concerns of migrants. The program provides practical frameworks for analysis and hands-on experience using a smart, systematic, and collaborative approach to theory- and data- driven innovation. Faculty lecturers will present theory and evidence, as well as practical case studies, behind policies and tools that leverage the potential of remittances’ to be not only a transfer of funds, but a significant means to economic development for migrants and developing economies. Topics will include the informal economy migration and migrant labor, financial sector enabling regulation, behavioral finance, and impact evaluation.

Participants will also learn the Smart Policy Design and Implementation (SPDI) approach, applying it directly to their most pressing policy and product challenges. Developed by experienced researchers and practitioners at Harvard Kennedy School’s Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) research program, the use of this approach has dramatically improved programmatic results in policy settings around the world, including in the United States, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Pakistan, and Uganda. Now more than ever, using smart approaches that allow for quick, data-informed decisions is a critical step in addressing the financial needs of vulnerable groups like migrants and their families.


Migrant Remittances and Financial Services will immerse you and your peers in a problem-driven, interactive learning environment that employs your collective expertise to design, test, and refine financial inclusion solutions. Live faculty sessions will review the latest evidence in inclusive financial services, providing space to discuss topics that are key to your work.

During groupwork, you will follow the first four steps of the Smart Policy Design Implementation (SPDI) process, incorporating economic theory and rigorous evidence at every stage:

  • IDENTIFY pressing policy problems
  • DIAGNOSE underlying causes
  • DESIGN high-potential and feasible policy solutions
  • IMPLEMENT and monitor proposed solutions on the ground

Champions of this approach who are keen to implement their SPDI designs in their work will be considered for an invitation to attend an in-person follow-up workshop, where participants will delve into the final two stages of SPDI:

  • TEST high-potential solutions with rigorous evaluation
  • REFINE those solutions based on continuous monitoring and feedback

The executive program will focus on three main themes.

  • Innovative public policy problem solving, which uses the HKS Smart Policy Design and Implementation (SPDI) framework to derive analytical insights, drawn from economics and backed by rigorous evidence, to inform the design and implementation of public policies around the world.
  • Robust, sustainable, and equitable development, which serves to situate the goal of improving digital financial services within the broader macroeconomic context.
  • Financial services and alternative delivery vehicles for the unbanked and underbanked, which covers specific interventions ranging from digital payments to behavioral finance to delivery system innovations.

Faculty Perspective

“We are delighted to collaborate with UNCDF on this exciting new initiative. headshot of man in a suitOur interactive and applied pedagogy, coupled with our extensive experience in enhancing financial inclusion for other demographics, should provide all stakeholders with both a sound conceptual framework and effective policy toolkit to improve the quality and accessibility of a full portfolio of essential migrant financial services.”

Jay Rosengard, Faculty Chair


Migrant Remittances and Financial Services blends interactive faculty sessions with applied action learning, consisting of lectures, case studies, and small group sessions. A key feature of the program is collaborative group sessions in which you work with peers to apply the SPDI framework to solve real-world problems that participants bring to the program.

These sessions will give you an opportunity to address a specific design challenge facing your organization. They present a unique chance for you to gain from the expertise of faculty, teaching fellows, and peers to help solve your challenge. 

Prior to the commencement of the online program, you will complete pre-assignments that serve as the foundation of your work in the program.

Designed and delivered by faculty leaders from the EPoD research program at Harvard Kennedy School, Migrant Remittances and Financial Services aligns with their work across the globe to improve lives by designing and enabling better policies. 

Who should apply

The Migrant Remittances and Financial Services executive education program is aimed at senior leadership from the following key stakeholder groups:

iconPublic sector. Policymakers and regulators from central banks, financial regulatory authorities, and telecommunications regulatory bodies.

iconPrivate industry. Executives from banks, mobile money providers, mobile network operators, microfinance institutions, remittance service providers, and other financial intermediaries.

iconCivil society. Representatives from think tanks, community-based organizations, multilateral organizations, and other nongovernmental actors.

This program is designed for individuals who have responsibility for setting the strategic course within their organization. The curriculum aims not just at building individual participants’ technical skills, but at equipping them to champion and drive a change agenda. The program would benefit senior leaders looking to guide their organizations into new ways of thinking and acting.

For inquiries, please contact: Louis Fourmentin. Email: louis.fourmentin@uncdf.org

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